My sump pump lives in a dark dank hole in the basement.
It is a lifestyle well-suited to his personality.
The old guy is a hard-case, one who takes pride in doing a gritty job that others refuse to do.
There used to be a lot of crusty characters like him around. These were no nonsense guys who were short on imagination, even shorter on conversation and scornful of any opinion other than their own.
But despite his lack of charisma, I rely upon him.
Who else would spend their days brooding in the basement, waiting sullenly for the moment when mother nature would paint the skies black and unleash her fury and then as the gutters overflow and the cracks in the floor gurgle freely, who else would throw back into her face, everything she tossed at him?
It is not a glamorous career but it is one he does without complaint because that is who he is. But not long ago, a whole new breed of smart appliances appeared in our house.
Hunkered down in the depths of the basement, he eavesdropped on their digital chatter – and they pissed him off.
He learned that the programmable thermostat, the smart coffee maker and the web-enabled refrigerator had no appreciation for the quiet hard working machines who lived below them. It was not their brilliance that enraged him but that they didn’t have the intelligent to be humble.
He brooded upon this and fumed over their petty dramas for months – until the day when mother nature again unleashed her fury.
And as the water rose – overwhelming the energy star humidifier, shorting out the smart hot water heater and flooding the geothermal unit, he laughed a hard laugh and muttered,
That was last week.
I had to wade down there and convinced him to return to work.
In a few days, I will retire him to the bottom shelf of a large wooden rack in the shed. There he will join the company of an old Briggs and Stratton engine and the transaxle from a Volkswagen beetle.
Which in his world – defines heaven.